(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

Egypt and Israel                         237
The nest mention we have of a Jewish colony in Egypt is in
connexion with the founding of Alexandria by Alexander the
Great, in 332 B.C. There is no reason to doubt the truth of
Josephus' statement that Alexander gave the Jews 'equal privi-
leges in this city with the Greets themselves' when he founded
the city (Sell. Jud. ii. 487, cf. Contra Ap. ii. 35); for this is
borne out by the edict of the Emperor Claudius, in which it is
said that 'the Jews of Alexandria, called Alexandrians, have been
joint-inhabitants in the earliest times with the Alexandrians,
and have obtained from their kings equal privileges with them,
as is evident by the public records which are in their possession,
and the edicts themselves . . .' (Antiq. xix. 281). It is not to be
supposed that Josephus invented this! The Jews were assigned
a special quarter in the city by Alexander's successors, cwho set
apart for them a particular place' (Bell. Jud. ii. 488); this is also
mentioned by Strabo (quoted by Josephus, Antiq. xiv. 117).
But by the time of Philo this isolation no longer existed, for
he says that they lived in all parts of the city (De Leg. ad
Cajum,  20). Regarding their organization, Strabo says: 'There
is also an ethnarch allowed them, who governs the nation, and
distributes justice to them, and takes care of their contracts, and
of the laws belonging to them, as if he were the ruler of a free
republic' (Antiq. xiv. 117). Space forbids our following out
further the history of the Jews in Alexandria under Ptolemaic
rule,1 and later under the Roman Empire; but we cannot tinnlr
of the Jews of Alexandria without recalling the fact that this
city was the home of the Septuagint. The account of the origin
of this profoundly important work, as given in the Letter of
Aristeas, is the embellishment, with a number of imaginary
details, of the fact that among the Jews of Alexandria a Greek
translation of the Pentateuch (the Law) was made for use among
1 See Buchler, Die Tobiaden und die Oniaden . . ., pp. 212-38 (1899);
Schurer, Gescbicbte de* jiidiscben Folkes . .., iii, pp. 24-52 (1909); and for the
Temple in Leontopolis (162 B.C.) see Buchler, pp. 239-76; Schurer, pp. 144-8.